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Using an ITIN? How the PATH Act May Affect Its Expiration Date

Updated for Tax Year 2021 • August 17, 2022 03:33 PM


The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act affects taxpayers who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), rather than a Social Security number, to file their tax returns. If you use an ITIN, it will expire unless you used it at least once during the previous three-year period. Even certain ITIN holders who have used their taxpayer identification number in the past three years may need to get a new ITIN if it’s older. Check the expiration rules below to see if the new expiration rules under the PATH Act affect you.

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The Three-Year Rule

You have three consecutive years to use your ITIN at least once on a federal tax return—as a filer or as a dependent—before it expires due to nonuse. For example, if you applied for and received your ITIN in 2017 and used it to file 2017 federal taxes, but did not use it to file your 2018, 2019, or 2020 federal income taxes, your ITIN would expire on the final day of the third consecutive year (in this case, December 31, 2021).

This three-year rule of expiration for nonuse affects ITINs regardless of when they were issued.

Rules for ITINs Issued Before 2013

Older ITINs expire on a rolling basis over the next few years, depending on when they were issued even if they were used to file taxes within the past three years. Here's the expiration schedule for ITINs issued before 2013:

  • ITINs issued before 2008 have already expired
  • ITINs issued in 2008 expire on January 1, 2018
  • ITINs issued in 2009 and 2010 expire on January 1, 2019
  • ITINs issued in 2011 and 2012 expire on January 1, 2020

Review Before You Renew

ITINs with middle digits "78" or "79" expired January 1, 2017 as a result of the PATH Act.

  • An ITIN has nine digits and is formatted: 9XX-XX-XXXX.
  • If your ITIN has a "78 "or "79" in the middle of it, it expired on January 1, 2017.
  • This expiration date also applies to dependents with ITINs that have fourth and fifth digits, or middle digits "78" and "79."

Taxpayers who have not used their ITIN to file a federal return at least once in the last three years will see their number expire Dec. 31, 2021. ITINs with middle digits 88 that were assigned before 2013 will also expire at the end of 2020 and those with middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 that have not already been renewed will also expire at the end of 2020. These taxpayers should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2021 for the 2020 tax year.

The IRS began to send letters to ITIN holders with these middle digits in the summer of 2020 to notify them of the impending expiration. If you are one of these ITIN holders and haven't submitted a renewal application, IRS Form W-7, you can wait until you file your federal tax return and submit both documents at the same time.

ITINs that do not a middle digit of 88, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 AND were used on a tax return for tax years 2018, 2019, or 2020 are not scheduled to automatically expire.

Renew your ITIN if necessary. If you do not renew an expiring or expired ITIN, the IRS can still accept your tax return, but it may delay processing it, which can impact when you get your tax refund. Expiration can also delay tax credits owed to you, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

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